27 February 2008

Passion History

This is the second year we've read the Passion history from the Altar Book as our lesson for our Lenten Evening Prayer. Each time I think I like it better - this gathering together of all the accounts and letting none of their details escape our attention. We cannot immerse ourselves in this story enough.

9 comments:

Jimbo said...

I thought I heard somewhere that the early church condemned a writing that merged together the four gospels (not just the Passion history). ever since then I've been hesitant to use Passion history from the altar book.
1) are you aware of such condemnation?
2) any credence to it?

William Weedon said...

Jimbo,

I'm unaware of it, but that doesn't mean much. Maybe some other reader will recall it?

Jimbo said...

thought a little more about it, and it seems like it was connected to the Marcionites... but if that is the case, then my guess would not be that they merged the texts together, but the way that they merged them together would result in a gnostic document.
(of course, if I'm wrong about it being the Marcionites, then I've led the discussion further away from the right answer)

Luke said...

Pr. Weedon:

What Jimbo is likely referring to is the condemnation of Tatian's 2nd Century Diatessaron by Theodoret of Cyrrhus in the 5th Century. This was a book that "harmonized" the four Gospels, but had issues regarding the sequence of events compared to the actual Gospel texts.

If I recall, Theodoret thought Tatian a heretic, but I'm not sure whether it was over the harmonization or over another matter. And I believe Theodoret had something to do with the Christological debates in the 5th Century, too.

Personally, I don't use harmonizations in public worship. I believe reading from the actual texts is a better way to go, FWIW.

LTZ

Jimbo said...

Luke,
that sounds like what I was trying to think of. and, like you, I avoid reading the harmonies during the church service, but choose one Gospel a year to read for the midweek service.
and unlike you, I root for the Dodgers when they play at Wrigley Field... despite that 20-something run drubbing I saw with you during sem days in 2001... great road trip to a great place for baseball.

Jimbo said...

(of course, I do use the harmonization for the Words of Institution... I've heard some guys don't)

Luke said...

Jimbo:

Perhaps Pr. Weedon can fill us in on the background/history of reading from the harmonized Passion Narrative during worship.

I think Pr. Weedon does have a point with the importance of knowing and hearing all the details for the Passion History. Your solution of choosing one of the Gospels, by year, is one way to fill the details in. It can also be done by having services each day during Holy Week with reading the Passion accounts from each Gospel by day.

Yes, I use the harmonization for the Verba; they are all the words that our Lord had spoken. Some may choose not to, but I think it would cause more offense than reading from the Passion Harmony. Perhaps our blog host may also know about the history of using a harmonization of the Verba vs. only the Matthean or Lukan/Pauline text in Lutheran orders.

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I remember the trip to Wrigley. You just weren't there when my team was playing the Cubs. Then I cheer for the visitors, along with 2,000 or so of "our closest friends and neighbors" from the next city up north. Too bad Pr. Juhl never got that experience, although I believe Prs. Hahn and Scudder once got to sit next to me during one of the customary Milwaukee Brewers victories at Wrigley (Miller Park South).

LTZ

Jimbo said...

I'm assuming the history of the harmonized Verba goes back to long before even the split between East and West.

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and my apologies for lumping you together with that group of fanatics (which you took better than if someone had thought I was a SF Giants fan (Fickenscher would love me to convert))... now that you menition it, I do recall you talking about liking the Brew Crew. as a former Dodger, I'm hoping Gagne can figure out what went wrong in Boston and do some good stuff as your closer.

pax,
Leistico

William Weedon said...

Call me an enthusiast. My observation was based on the EXPERIENCE of using it in liturgical worship. I don't think it works the same just looking at it in your study. As I read it, you could hear a pin drop - the people's faces are attentive and soaking it in. And it's just that nothing has been dropped out - all gathered together. I've also preached the Passions one after the other year by year, and did so for a number of years. That's good and enables one to focus on how a particular Evangelist is shaping (under the Holy Spirit) the proclamation of the Good News. But this "holding it all together" is one of the great joys of the Passion Reading - it's like Jesus speaking after this Sunday's Gospel: "gather up the crumbs that nothing be wasted." And so nothing is wasted, nothing missing, from the people's meditation on the Passion through the Lenten season.

As for it's history: I know that Bugenhagen drew one up for use with the church orders he authored. I'm not sure if there were medieval precedents or not. I know that Gerhard says that Nazianzus had a conflated Passion, though he doesn't make any mention of its liturgical use. By the bye, Gerhard's work on the Passion is incomparable in its beauty.